Boris launches attack on Sunak as US leg of his comeback tour

Ukraine: Boris Johnson visits Oleksiy Kuleba in Kyiv

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Boris Johnson has fuelled speculation that he is planning a comeback as Prime Minister by taking a swipe at Rishi Sunak on the US leg of what is being described as his “comeback tour”. The recently ousted Prime Minister is in Washington DC visiting senior Republicans and gave an interview to Fox News where he criticised his successor for not sending fighter jets to Ukraine in its war with Russia.

He told Bret Brier on Fox: “Every time we’ve said it would be a mistake to give such and such an item of weaponry, we end up doing it and it ends up being the right thing for Ukraine.”

Mr Johnson yesterday met with the new US Speaker in Congress Kevin McCarthy and is due to hold meetings today with Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell and former Speaker Newt Gingrich.

He is also due to give a major speech to the Atlantic Council at 4.30pm UK time in a move which is understood to already made people in Downing Street nervous.

A former cabinet minister told “Boris is a world figure, you can’t keep him down whatever the back stabbers wanted to do.

“He is the only one who can possibly turn things around. Rishi Sunak just does not have his stardust and that’s increasingly evident.”

Mr Johnson was also in Davos mixing with the world’s wealthiest and most politically influential figures at the World Economic Forum earlier this month where he again emerged as a champion of Ukraine’s struggle against Vladimir Putin.

Sandwiched between his trip to Washington and Davos was another visit to Ukraine where he was welcomed as a hero by President Zelensky and others for his role in leading the international effort to help defend Ukraine.

The comeback tour began with an unveiling of his official portrait at the Carlton Club at the start of the year.

But his criticism of Mr Sunak, the first time he has publicly attacked the new Prime Minister since leaving office in September, came as the UK followed the US yesterday in ruling out sending Ukraine fighter jets.

This came after NATO countries this month decided to send Ukraine tanks to help in the war led by Britain sending its Challenger 2 armoured vehicles.

Another senior Conservative MP said: “Just look how far we are behind in the polls. Boris really is the only option. Look at the way he is being lauded around the world and then wonder why my colleagues did what they did in getting rid of him.”

Meanwhile, Speaker McCarthy, who himself had a struggle to be elected to lead Congress, welcomed Mr Johnson as the first major international figure to visit his new office and hinted at some major developments.

He said: “Thank you to my good friend @BorisJohnson for stopping by my new office to offer congratulations. Big things ahead!”

There have been calls for Mr Johnson to take on an international role championing Ukraine as a roving ambassador which is backed by many Tory voters and Brexiteers back in the UK.


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Meanwhile, Mr Sunak’s future apears to still be insecure after the sacking of his party chairman Nadhim Zahawi over historic tax irregularities.

Mr Zahawi has become the latest friend and ally of Mr Johnson to land on the backbenches with a grudge against the Prime Minister.

There have been calls for mr Sunak to offer an olive branch to his critics by replacing Mr Zahawi with former Home Secretary Priti Patel, another Johnson ally.

Earlier this week Liz Truss, ho was ousted by supporters of Mr Sunak last year, launched Conservatives for Growth in another bid to undermine the Prime Minister.

This followed her making a trip to Washington DC.

Mr Johnson also took a shot at Nigel Farage in his Fox News interview.

After listening to a clip of Mr Farage saying his relationship with the truth was “loose”, Mr Johnson hit back: ““Well, look, I think that the Kremlin and I don’t know if Nigel’s speaking for the Kremlin, but the Kremlin are fabled for their complete refusal to tell the truth about anything that’s happening in Ukraine.”

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